OOIDA's state watch

We know you don’t have time to keep up with all the legislative action. That’s why your Association keeps a close watch on action for you.

Here you will find a midsummer roundup of some significant action from around the country.

For a complete rundown of state legislation, visit landlinemag.com and click on “Legislative Watch” under the “Important Info” tab.

By Keith Goble, state legislative editor


One Senate bill would increase the state’s excise tax on fuels by 10 cents for gas and 12 cents for diesel. SB16 would also increase truck weight fees to help pay for road and bridge repairs. Other revenue enhancers would increase vehicle license fees by 0.07 percent annually over five years, raise vehicle registration fees by $35, and subject zero-emission vehicles to an annual $100 fee.


Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a bill to prohibit counties and municipalities from forcing police to issue a certain number of tickets to meet a mandate. SB264 clarifies that state, county and municipal traffic enforcement agencies are prohibited from establishing citation quotas. The amount of traffic fine revenue that municipalities can keep is also limited.


A new law revises the state’s threshold on how much ticket revenue that police departments can rake in. Georgia law now limits to 40 percent how much revenue departments can keep from speeding tickets. However, speeding tickets issued for exceeding the posted limit by at least 17 mph do not count toward that percentage. Previously SB134, the new law increases the threshold to 20 mph. In addition, the amount of revenue local or county departments could keep is capped at 35 percent.


Effective July 1, a new law authorizes police to enforce a rule requiring drivers in the far left lane to move over for a vehicle traveling at a faster speed – regardless of the speed. Violators would face $500 fines. HB1305 exempts drivers unable to make way for overtaking vehicles due to heavy traffic, poor weather, exiting to the left, paying a toll, or making room for an emergency vehicle.

A separate new law covers the use of modified compression release engine brakes. SB437 authorizes $500 fines for vehicles equipped with the affected brakes unless the vehicle includes a muffler in good working condition to prevent excessive noise.


One bill headed to the governor’s desk would boost allowable weights to 85,500 pounds for livestock haulers on state highways. SB131 would also authorize grain haulers transporting loads during harvest to exceed maximum allowable weight limits by up to 10 percent on state highways that do not include interstates.


A new law revises rules related to so-called megaloads. Effective Oct. 1, HB222 prohibits local governments from collecting fees to move affected loads along state-managed highways.


Gov. Brian Sandoval signed into law a bill, SB2, to authorize up to 80 mph speeds for all vehicles on stretches of highway deemed appropriate by the Nevada DOT – up from 75 mph.


The Senate voted unanimously to advance a bill to the Assembly to do away with indemnification clauses in trucking contracts. S1380 would outlaw provisions in contracts that provide for shippers to be indemnified for losses caused by their own negligence and make them “void and unenforceable.”


Two bills awaiting floor votes in their respective chambers are intended to reform the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. A812/S1429 would require the Port Authority to follow the same guidelines for other public authorities in the state, including mandatory annual audits and creation of an internal inspector general’s office, as well as subject the agency to the public records laws of both states.


One House-approved bill would outlaw provisions in contracts that provide for shippers to be indemnified for losses caused by their own negligence. HB71 would define an affected contract as “a contract, agreement, or understanding” between a motor carrier and a shipper covering the transportation of property for compensation or hire by the motor carrier, entry on property to load, unload, or transport property.


Gov. Mary Fallin signed into law a bill that calls for the development and implementation of a pilot program to evaluate the potential use of certified commercial driver education instructors and examiners by private business in the state. Previously SB411, the new law takes effect Nov. 1.

Another new law covers overweight truck limits. SB638 requires vehicles transporting certain aggregates, oilfield equipment, or other raw agricultural products to purchase an annual special overload permit for $350 – up from $100. The revenue will be used to support the state highway construction and maintenance fund.


Gov. Nikki Haley signed into law a bill to suspend size and weight rules for commercial vehicles during a state of emergency declared by the governor. S358 applies to trucks weighing up to 90,000 pounds or up to 12 feet wide. Affected loads would have access to non-interstate routes for up to 120 days following the emergency declaration. Restrictions on travel time along interstates and non-interstates would also be suspended for up to 30 days.


A new law authorizes the state to temporarily suspend weight limits and hours of service for commercial vehicles hauling motor fuels, heating oil, and certain other liquid fuels during occasions when adverse road conditions exist and affect the delivery of such fuels within the state. Circumstances affected would not require a state of emergency, disaster or extreme weather event. SB778 takes effect July 1.


Speed limits are changing from 65 to 70 mph on rural interstates, U.S. 41 and portions of U.S. 51, 53 and 141. Previously AB27, the new law permits the Wisconsin DOT to make the final decision on the sections of roadway where speed increases are suitable.


One new law revises penalties for exceeding the posted speed limit on rural interstates where 80 mph travel is permitted. HB181 sets fines for motorists found to be exceeding the posted speed by up to 5 mph at as much as $25 in addition to other penalties. Truck drivers would face $100 fines. Motorists caught traveling in excess of 85 mph would face fines starting at $35. Truck drivers would face $300 fines. LL